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Saturday November 25th, 2017 12:22AM

Gainesville baker wins grand prize in UGA's 2016 Flavor of Georgia contest

By AccessWDUN Staff
  Contact Editor

The owner of Gainesville-based Southern Baked Pie Company (formerly known as Buttermilk Pie Company) has won the grand prize in the University of Georgia’s 2016 Flavor of Georgia Contest.

Amanda Wilbanks won this year's competition with her caramel pecan pie, one of the staples of her company. 

The annual contest, conducted by the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, is a chance for food businesses to showcase their new products.

“We had over 100 products submitted this year and some of the toughest competition we’ve seen in the contest’s 10 year history,” said Sharon P. Kane, Flavor of Georgia contest coordinator.

The field was narrowed to 33 finalists, and a team of food industry experts and grocery buyers chose Wilbanks’ pie as the best among the finalists' submissions. They rated the products on qualities including innovation, use of Georgia theme, market potential and flavor.

In addition to the grand prize, Wilbanks also won first place in the confections category.

Wilbanks and other category winners were honored by Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black and UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Dean and Director Sam Pardue during Georgia Agriculture Awareness Day at the Georgia Freight Depot in Atlanta.

Editor's note: Wilbanks will be a guest Thursday, March 17 on WDUN's Afternoon News Wrap. Her interview is scheduled for 5:40 p.m. 

The awards are listed below by prize name, product name, company name, company representatives and town.

Grand Prize Winners and Confection: Southern Baked Pie Company (formerly Buttermilk Pie Company) Caramel Pecan Pie, Amanda Wilbanks, Gainesville

People's Choice Award: Carroll’s Sausage and Meats, Medium Smoke Link Sausage, Johnny Walker, Ashburn

Barbecue Sauces: Joe Kem’s BBQ, Joe Kem’s Barbecue Sauce, Joe Kem Lacey, Moultrie

Beverages: Paulk’s Pride 100% White Muscadine Juice, Muscadine Products Corporation, Erin Boettger, Wray

Dairy Products: Revolution Gelato, Nekkid Espresso Dairy-Free Gelato, Revolution Gelato, Jared Olkin, Atlanta

Honey: Bruce’s Nut N Honey Farm/The Honey Shack, Papa's Private Selection Honey 100% Pure, Raw, Unfiltered; Ben Bruce, Homerville

Jams and Jellies: Wisham Jellies, Wild Mayhaw Pepper Jelly, Eric Wisham, Tifton

Marinades, Sauces and Rubs: The Salt Table, Leek, Chive and Onion Dip and Seasoning Blend, David and Carol Legasse, Savannah

Meat and Seafood: Hunter Cattle Company, Hot Georgia Night Sausage, Del Ferguson, Brooklet

Miscellaneous: Beautiful Briny Sea, Pocketful of Starlight Vanilla Sugar, Atlanta

Salsas, Chutneys and Condiments: Abby J’s Gourmet, Abby J’s Blackhawk Field to Fork Sweet Fire Pickles, Abby Jackson, Clarkesville

Snack Foods: Marsh Cabin Bakery, Kim’s Cheese Straws—Pecan Cheddar, Kim Kaiser, Statesboro

Category winners received an award and membership in the state Department of Agriculture’s Georgia Grown program, statewide notoriety and bragging rights. All winners and finalists earn the right to have their products stamped with the 2016 Flavor of Georgia logo. They also gain exposure to grocery buyers and food industry professionals who judge the final round of the contest.

The Flavor of Georgia food product contest is sponsored by the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development in partnership with Gourmet Foods International, Georgia Center of Innovation for Agribusiness, the Office of the Governor, Walton EMC, the Georgia Department of Agriculture and the Georgia Agribusiness Council.

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